A prayer for those who live alone

I live alone, dear Lord, stay by my side,
In all my daily needs be my guide.
Grant me good health, for that I pray,
To carry on my work from day to day.
Keep pure my mind, my thoughts, my every deed,
Let me be kind and unselfish in my neighbor’s need.
Spare me from fire, from flood and
Malicious tongues,
From thieves, from fear, and evil ones.
If sickness or an accident befall,
Then humbly, Lord, I pray, hear my call.
And when I’m feeling low, or in despair,
Lift up my heart, and help me in my prayer.
I live alone, dear Lord, yet have no fear,
Because I feel Your presence ever near. Amen.

In the morning, fill us with your love;
we shall exult and rejoice all our days.
Give us joy to balance our affliction
for the years when we knew misfortune. (Psalm 90: 14-15)

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Life….

LIFE….
LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is.
Psalm 39:4 , NLT

Life is short no matter how long we live. If there is something important we want to do, we must not put it off for a better day.

Ask yourself, “If I had only six months to live, what would I do?” Tell someone that you love him or her? Deal with an undisciplined area in your life? Tell someone about Jesus? Because life is short, don’t neglect what is truly important.

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a date with the other woman…..

A DATE WITH THE OTHER WOMAN

After 21 years of marriage, I discovered a new way of keeping alive the spark of love. A little while ago I started to go out with another woman. It was really my wife’s idea.

“I know you love her,” she said one day, taking me by surprise.

“But I love YOU!” I protested.

“I know, but you also love her.”

The other woman my wife wanted me to visit was my mother, who has been a widow for 19 years. The demands of my work and my three children had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. That night, I called to invite her to go out for dinner and a movie.

“What’s wrong, are you well,” she asked? My mother is the type of woman who suspects that a late night call or a surprise invitation is a sign of bad news.

“I thought it would be pleasant to pass some time with you,” I responded. “Just the two of us.”

She thought about it for a moment, then said, “I would like that very much.”

That Friday, after work, as I drove over to pick her up I was a bit nervous. When I arrived at her house, I noticed that she, too, seemed to be nervous about our date. She waited in the doorway with her coat on. She had curled her hair and was wearing the dress that she had worn to celebrate her last wedding anniversary. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s.

“I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son, and they were impressed,” she said, as she got into the car. “They can’t wait to hear about our meeting.”

We went to a restaurant that, although not elegant, was very nice and cozy. My mother took my arm as if she were the First Lady.

After we sat down, I had to read the menu. Her eyes could only read large print. Halfway through the entree, I lifted my eyes and saw Mom sitting there staring at me. A nostalgic smile was on her lips.

“It was I who used to have to read the menu when you were small,” she said.

“Then it’s time you relaxed and let me return the favor,” I responded.

During the dinner, we had an agreeable conversation – nothing extraordinary – just catching up on recent events of each other’s lives. We talked so much that we missed the movie.

As we arrived at her house later, she said, “I’ll go out with you again, but only if you let me invite you.” I agreed and kissed her good night.

“How was your dinner date?” asked my wife when I got home.

“Very nice. Much nicer than I could have imagined,” I answered.

A few days later, my mother died of a massive heart attack. It happened so suddenly that I didn’t have a chance to do anything for her.

Sometime later, I received an envelope with a copy of a restaurant receipt from the same place mother and I had dined. An attached note said: “I paid this bill in advance. I was almost sure that I couldn’t be there, but, never-the-less, I paid for two plates –one for you and the other for you wife. You will never know what that night meant to me. I love you.”

At that moment, I understood the importance of saying, “I LOVE YOU” in time, and to give our loved ones the time that they deserve. Nothing in life is more important than God and your family. Give them the time they deserve, because these things cannot always be put off to “some other time.”

— Author Unknown

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a long or a short ride what will it be?

THE RIDE

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. It was a cowboy’s life, a life
for someone who wanted no boss. What I didn’t realize was that it was also a
ministry. Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving
confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and
told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me,
ennobled me, made me laugh and weep. But none touched me more than a woman I
picked up late one August night.

I responded to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town.
I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partiers, or someone who had just
had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some
factory in the industrial part of town. When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the
building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait
a minute, then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who
depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation
smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be
someone who needed my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the
door and knocked.

“Just a minute,” answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something
being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small
woman in her 80s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a
pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one
had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There
were no clocks on the walls, no knick-knacks or utensils on the counters. In
the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said.

I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took
my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my
kindness.

“It’s nothing,” I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I
would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good boy,” she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked, “Could you drive
through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice”.

I looked in the rearview mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have
very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

“What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the
building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through
the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were
newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had
once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d
ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit
staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m
tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building,
like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.
Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were
solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been
expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door.
The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.

“Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered.

“There are other passengers,” I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me
tightly.

“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a
door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in
thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman
had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What
if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a
quick review, I don’t think that I have done very many more important things
in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But
great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others
may consider small ones.

— Author Unknown

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the first Adam and the last Adam

One failed and brought death on all His descendants. The other was faithful, bringing life through His death and resurrection.

And if we take the time to read Scripture more carefully, we see how deeply the parallels run. The ways in which Jesus is similar to, and yet better than Adam, are astonishing:

The first Adam yielded to temptation in a garden. The Last Adam beat temptation in a garden. The first man, Adam, sought to become like God. The Last Adam was God who became a man. The first Adam was naked and received clothes. The Last Adam had clothes but was stripped. The first Adam tasted death from a tree. The Last Adam tasted death on a tree. The first Adam hid from the face of God, while the Last Adam begged God not to hide His face.

The first Adam blamed his bride, while the Last Adam took the blame for His bride. The first Adam earned thorns. The Last Adam wore thorns. The first Adam gained a wife when God opened man’s side, but the Last Adam gained a wife when man opened God’s side. The first Adam brought a curse. The Last Adam became a curse. While the first Adam fell by listening when the Serpent said “take and eat,” the Last Adam told His followers, “take and eat, this is my body.”

We celebrate this last event today—Jesus’ final meal with His Disciples, and His new command that we “love one another.” In giving Christians this meal, He sealed His role as Adam’s replacement.

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just a quick thought….on types of people

Somebody has well said that there are only two kinds of people in the world: There are those who wake up in the morning and say, “Good morning, Lord,” and there are those who wake up in the morning and say, “Good Lord, it’s morning.”

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full or empty ??

FULL OR EMPTY?
By Heather Spears Kallus

There are many people in our world.  Yes, and people can be so very different in their views, temperaments, attitudes, and personalities.  Some of us can be easy-going, flexible, and upbeat, while others can be cantankerous, argumentative, and uncooperative.  Let me interrupt for just a second – isn’t that a fun word?  Cantankerous.  I haven’t used it for a long, long time, but it’s a word full of letters and it basically just means crabby and cranky.  Cantankerous.  CANTANKEROUS!  Anyway, as a word-lover, I thank you for allowing me to digress for a moment.

When we can, we prefer to hang out with people who are positive and uplifting, right?  If given the opportunity, most of us would choose to surround ourselves with people who inspire, motivate, and encourage us.  If given a choice, we’d pick a friend who views the glass as half-full instead of half-empty, right?  We wouldn’t want to purposely seek out the irritable grumps in our world, would we?

Well, I just got a cute little story from Mikey that compares twins.  So timely and I love it!

A family had twin boys whose only resemblance to each other was their looks.  If one felt it was too hot, the other thought it was too cold.  If one said the TV was too loud, the other claimed the volume needed to be turned up.

Opposite in every way, one was an eternal optimist, the other a doom & gloom pessimist.  Just to see what would happen, on the twins’ birthday, their father loaded the pessimist’s room with every imaginable toy and game.

The optimist’s room, he loaded with horse manure.

That night, the father passed by the pessimist’s room and found him sitting amid his new gifts crying bitterly.

“Why are you crying?” the father asked.

“Because my friends will be jealous, and I’ll have to read all these instructions before I can do anything with this stuff.  I’ll constantly need batteries, and my toys will eventually get broken,” answered the pessimistic twin.

Passing the optimistic twin’s room, the father found him dancing for joy in the pile of manure.

“What are you so happy about?” he asked.

To which his optimistic twin son replied, “There’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!  Woo-hoo!”

Oh, that story made me smile!  A perfect example of half-full vs. half-empty!

So, I’ve seen a version of the following question in many places over the years and I wanted to share it with you.  I was inspired by it so much so that I wrote a poem about it today.  Here’s the question:  “What if we woke up this morning and ONLY had the things and people in our lives that we had thanked God for yesterday?”  Hmmmm…would we only have the traffic light that finally turned green, the winning scratch-off ticket, or the passing grade on that final exam?  Would we have anyone to share our joy with?

Here’s my poem:

FULL OR EMPTY?

How full or empty would our world be,

If we had only things we’d thanked God for on bended knee?

Would we have a home, some food, or money?

How ’bout a job, some clothes, and our Honey?

Could we see with our eyes and speak with our lips?

Could we walk with our legs and dance with our hips?

Would our children be there to tuck in at night?

Would the sun wake us up with new morning light?

How full or empty would our world be,

If we had only things we’d thanked God for on bended knee?

Would we have friends and fam to call on the phone?

How ’bout some ice cream on a cone?

Could we turn on the A/C or heater at whim?

Could we hit the gym or sing a hymn?

Would our parents be there to spend some time?

Would we find that lucky penny, dollar, or dime?

Would there be hugs, kisses, and love?

What about chances to thank God above?

Would there be stars in the sky for wishes?

How ’bout mouths to feed and all those dishes?

I ask again, to reflect and think,

Ponder on this the next time you blink.

How full or empty would your world be,

If you had only things you’d thanked God for on bended knee?

Full or empty?  We choose.

Half-full or half-empty?  We still choose.  Let’s choose to look for the pony!  I’m in!  Are you?

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Ash Wednesday

ASH WEDNESDAY

 

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Christian season of Lent.

Lent comes from the Old English term for “lengthen.”  As Easter approaches the amount of daylight grows longer.

 

More than a thousand years ago followers of Jesus began to set aside the 40 days before Easter as a kind of annual spiritual journey – an opportunity to reconnect with God in specific ways.  This year Easter Sunday is April 16.  If you do the math you’ll discover that there are actually 46 days between February 18 and April 5.

 

The six “extra” days represent the six Sundays during Lent.  Some Christians treat these Sundays as “little Easters” – they are like rest stops on the journey in which some folks choose step back, for 24 hours, from their Lenten commitments.

 

By Lenten commitment, do we mean giving something up?

Yes, a number of people choose to give up something for Lent.  Think of taking something out of your backpack before beginning a 40-day hike.  “I choose not to carry this around with me for the next six weeks.”  Think of it as an expression of hope.

During the Middle Ages it was common for Christians to give up meat, fish, eggs, and butter throughout Lent.

 

Nowadays it’s more typical for Westerners to surrender one of those things that can approach the level of addiction – perhaps caffeine, soda, coffee, chocolate, television, social media, or computer games.  It doesn’t take much for us to realize that these are probably things we could and should surrender for far longer than 40 days.

 

Can Lent also be a time to “take on” a new habit or practice?

Absolutely.  The balance, in fact, is quite healthy.  Just as we leave something behind on this spiritual journey, we also pick up a new perspective or behavior or commitment.  This is also an expression of hope.

You might consider an accelerated pattern of personal prayer or Bible reading.  Or writing a daily thank-you note to 40 different people.   Or pursuing a specific strategy to serve the poor.  Or a daily break in which you stop and enjoy a few minutes of intentional stillness.

 

This year there’s another option.

Write a message on a Post-It note.  With one word or a few words or even a short paragraph, address this question:  Where do you hope to see God at work between now and Easter?

Where do you hope to see God at work in your department?  In your family?  In our nation?  Or in your own heart?

 

You might put a Post-It note on a cross of your own, or in a place where you’re likely to see it.

 

Casting our hopes on God is itself an expression of hope.

And the cross just so happens to be the place where our deepest hopes become reality.

 

— Authored by Glenn McDonald

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Just a thought…

Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on the door forever.

amen…

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a Pebble story

Many years ago in a small  village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a village moneylender.

The moneylender, who was an awful, mean man, fancied the farmer’s beautiful daughter. So he proposed a bargain.

He said he would forgo the farmer’s debt if he could marry his daughter. Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the proposal. So the cunning money-lender suggested that they let providence decide the matter. He told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty money bag.

Then the girl would have to pick one pebble from the bag.

1) If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father’s debt would be forgiven.

2) If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father’s debt would still be forgiven.

3) But if she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.

They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the farmer’s field. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick a pebble from the bag.

Now, imagine that you were standing in the field.

What would you have done if you were the girl?

If you had to advise her, what would you have told her?

Careful analysis would produce three possibilities:

1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.

2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the money-lender as a cheat.

3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment.

Take a moment to ponder over the story. The above story is used with the hope that it will make us appreciate the difference between lateral and logical thinking. The girl’s dilemma cannot be solved with traditional logical thinking. Think of the consequences if she chooses the above logical answers.

What would you recommend to the girl to do?

Well, here is what she did ….

The girl put her hand into the moneybag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles.

“Oh, how clumsy of me,” she said. “But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked.”

Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that she had picked the white one. And since the money-lender dared not admit his dishonesty, the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into an extremely advantageous one.

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